There will be a new regulatory framework for social housing in England from 1st April 2012. This replaces the previous framework that came into effect in 2010. The new framework implements amendments introduced by the Localism Act.
Under the Localism Act the Tenants Services Authority (TSA) that has been the regulator for the framework is to be abolished and the functions are to be absorbed by the Homes and Communities Agency. The new regulator will have distinct roles in relation to economic and consumer regulation.
Economic regulation applies to private registered providers only ie Housing Associations and will be proactive. Consumer regulation will apply to all registered providers and will be reactive.
Registered providers will be required to meet relevant service standards. Boards and Councillors, who govern service delivery, are responsible for meeting the standards and being transparent and acountable for their organisation's delivery of social housing objectives. But they must support tenants to shape and scrutinise service delivery and to hold Boards and Councillors to account.
The regulator will only intervene for a breach or potential breach of consumer standards in relation to service delivery if there is a risk of serious detriment to tenants. It will now be for registered providers working with tenants panels, Councillors and MPs to deal with less serious breaches of consumer standards.